When you plan your photographic safari or team building photo safari to Kenya, Tanzania South Africa or Botswana be wise when you choose lodges and game reserves and not that much in regards how luxury they are, but in regards to the game drives.
When we went recently with a wildlife photography course to the Masai Mara in Kenya, we learned that we couldn’t go to all parts of the Masai Mara during the game drives without paying again the park fee of USD 80 per person per day. We had paid already the park fee, but we found out that this gave us access only to a part of the park, witch can be very annoying when you want to see certain areas, but you would have to pay again. The people from the camp told us that there were intentions of the national reserve authorities to change that, but it would still apply to us. So check that before you go and make sure you go to the interesting areas.
Even more annoying is it when you see a leopard going hunting and you cannot follow with the vehicle, because the leopard is crossing over to a different game reserve. This can be the situation in the Sabi Sand in Kruger National Park in South Africa. The Sabi Sand are part of the Greater Kruger National Park, but are all privately hold game reserves, also called private game reserves. This is actually very good, because you will have better sightings and only three vehicles at a cat sighting, what you don’t have in the national park, but there is also a downside. The private game reserves differ greatly in size and the small game reserves do not have enough land to guarantee good game drives lets say for a three nights photographic safari. For that reason the landowners negotiate traversing rights on each others land. But these traversing rights come with rules like you are only allowed to be on the land until 9 am and then again in the afternoon. But when the leopard hunts and it is 9:15 you will not be allowed to follow. Even worse is when the neighbor does not allow traversing and you have to stop at the border, hearing the leopard kill, but not seeing anything. These situations can occur in the northern and western Sabi Sand and they are really very annoying. For that reason look at the size of the private game reserve when you book your photographic safari to make sure you do not have to encounter these “border conflicts”. Choose a game reserve with plenty of land and a maximum of 6 people on the game vehicle and you will have an amazing experience. Maps of game areas are available online and you can ask your agent to advice.